View Full Version : November/December 2013 Lite Challenge: Kessila

11-24-2013, 03:49 AM
This looks like another fun challenge, and I have a(n old and rather neglected) world in need of a colony town.

Supplementary Information:
Kessila sits just west of a mountain range and a good distance east of an ocean-connected sea. The sea region was briefly home to a large empire, but internal politics eventually caused the empire to fracture. In the early days of the empire a Wall was established to guard the main pass which nomadic raiders used to cross the eastern mountain range and prey on the outskirts of the empire. During the generations of warring after the empire's collapse the raiders finally breached the defenses and destroyed many of the towns nearest the Wall.
After the warring ended three powerful states emerged, and working together they repaired and extended the Wall. New colonial settlements were established along the Wall to provide strategic reinforcement, expand the influence of the states and help with burgeoning populations. By this time the tech level of this part of the world looks something similar to Ancient Greeks/Romans. In Kessila we will hopefully see that influence in the ordered approach to the layout.
Although there will be six or seven cities established along the Wall during this time, the thing that sets Kessila apart (and what qualifies it as an entry for a 'colonies' challenge) is that it is not just one settlement, but three, with two of the major powers and a religious cult all showing interest in settling the location.
Kessila is built over one of the razed towns, which was itself built on an older sanctuary. Kessila is in a drier region, so I originally wanted it supplied by a Qanat-style water system emerging from a cliff face. Although the Qanat idea may not be used, the idea lead me to (4th century bc) Priene, which I thought had unique features inspiring some character in what could be an otherwise very ordered and orthogonal town layout. I will try to let Priene inspire me despite Kessila being nowhere near a large body of water. I feel like the topo will be an important element, so I will spend some time laying that out here at the beginning, and maybe continue to refine it as I go along. The topo will definitely have to feature in the final layout, but I am not sure yet how much or what detail should be seen in the town itself.

Haverfield (in Ancient Town Planning) give us some numbers for streets/blocks in Priene, so we have something to work with concerning scale.

...and some eighty blocks of private houses, each block measuring on an average 40 x 50 yds. and containing four or five houses. The broader streets, rarely more that 23 ft. wide, ran level along the terraces and parallel to one another. Other narrower streets, generally about 10 ft. wide, ran at right angles up the slopes, with steps like those of the older Scarborough or of Assisi...

Priene - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priene)

### Latest WIP ###

There is not much to look at yet, just a first draft of the topo. The center of the map is an oversized hill, and the top of it will eventually be walled off as a sort of fort/acropolis. Below that is a square roughly the size of Priene sitting on a plateau. I already want to redo some parts of the topo, but the next step will getting Kessila's areas walled off and doing a rough layout of the streets. I am not sure how much of this will be visible in the final layout, I may end up cropping out the acropolis area to focus more on the town itself.

11-25-2013, 12:55 AM
Started on the layout of the town, not completely happy with where I stopped, but I feel it is far enough that I can let it stew in my mind over thanksgiving.

### Latest WIP ###

11-26-2013, 10:05 PM
I ended up having a little unexpected free time today so I looked at some potential layouts. I put the best of a mediocre bunch below, but I am still not committed to the look.

I liked Diamond's emblems in his Panhartha map, and I thought it might be interesting to use a similar effect for the symbols of the three factions participating in the settlement. There will be corresponding text for each faction as well, and on the right side there is room for an additional visual element, either a regional map or maybe a hand-sketchy aerial. The whole thing feels a little cartoony to me, but maybe that is because the graphics are not in yet. We will see.

### Latest WIP ###

11-28-2013, 01:01 AM
Really interested in seeing where this is going. I'm a sucker for most maps with good contour lines or city maps.

To me (a symmetry addict) the bottom left corner looks out of place. Maybe have a fourth symbol (for the city/town).

11-28-2013, 02:10 AM
I love this map, RedKettle. I'm really curious to see how it evolves! I love the contours shot from the side in the inset, it really does a good job of showing how your height lines play out.

11-28-2013, 03:13 AM
Your layout looks really good! To me, an asymmetry addict, the bottom left corner is perfect ;) Though it's the right side that really steals the show of course. I'm seeing this map with a lot of gold, brown and white in the color scheme, with hints of light blue…

12-02-2013, 03:13 AM
Thurlor, Lingon, you are both correct. In this layout the street grid does a good job moving eyes from the lower left to center right, so despite my symmetric tendencies adding some asymmetry helps develop some tension. However, to me it feels like I was a bit too successful, and instead of a -tension- feeling I almost get a -wrong- feeling. This may partially be from the street grid, but I think that the separate text areas are already making the composition feel crowded and oddly disorganized. Back to the drawing board I suppose. I've put a few of the other unsuccessful candidates below. Still not sure how this will all lay out.

The other question is what information I want to show. A quick aerial sketch would include the 'roof' view to some extent, so repeating that on the top down map feels repetitive. At first I was thinking of drawing out the first floor plans for the buildings (inspired by domus/insula), but the scale might be a little too small for things to be easily legible. Another option might be a diagrammatic map showing the colony before it has been inhabited, maybe with information on who (by family/faction) has been assigned to each plot. I am a little frustrated with myself for having to stop here without knowing where I am going, but I guess it will have to wait another day.

Finally, I like Lingon's ideas for coloring. I had been thinking in terms of golds/browns and silver grays, but I knew I needed a few more colors in the palette.

As always, thanks everyone for the encouragement, and comments/questions/derisions/applause are always welcome.

fabio p
12-02-2013, 08:07 AM
I prefer the layout you posted on 27 november.
Maybe I do not like much the second one, starting from the left, posted today, 2 dec: the circle and the oval are too big compared to the city layout and you want to give more importance to the city, not to what's inside the circle and the oval.
But, excluding this single exception, I think you can even random choose one of your layouts and move on, as they seem to me all quite good.

12-02-2013, 09:32 AM
I'm with Fabio, your first layout was the best. Very well balanced and designed. The others are really cool too, but none of them match the first. You have a point about the separate text areas though, at least if it's going to be one coherent text. You could move the circular graphic (in the first design) to the top right corner and combine the text boxes into one large below it, maybe?

12-03-2013, 04:13 AM
You guys are probably correct that it is the strongest composition, I was hoping someone would see something I am not. I will probably move to adding details to the walls and civic buildings next to avoid committing to a layout right away.

So there is something to look at, here is a study with the elevation shown as a colored height map. It creates a Triangle of Action which helps balance things as well.

### Latest WIP ###

12-08-2013, 03:48 AM
I love the color there :) The white highlight is a bit strong for my taste, it draws the eye when focus should be on the city… unless you plan to detail the Acropolis to an even higher level.

12-09-2013, 04:41 AM
I love the color there :) The white highlight is a bit strong for my taste, it draws the eye when focus should be on the city… unless you plan to detail the Acropolis to an even higher level.

I agree, the white turned out a little too intense in that one, but I feel like the layout still has some evolving to do.

I got a little distracted by plans this weekend, but it was fun. I think all the plans need another pass before they are presentable (especially the market buildings in the lower left). The larger and odd-shaped lots still need to be done and it could use a little more variation, but there is enough that the rhythm is starting to emerge. Still debating on the theatre, I started drawing one in but the shape did not feel right. Another issue is the paving of the plaza areas, not sure how I want that to look yet (the central plaza is screaming for some Piazza del Campidoglio type treatment).

Next I want to take a break from plan stuff and work on the sketch, emblems and filling in the layout. I already tried the emblems once and did not like what I came up with, so worst-case scenario I may turn them into shields.

### Latest WIP ###

12-12-2013, 03:22 AM
Many parts have been started, but none are finished. I finally made an emblem that I did not dislike, so the remaining two should be quick additions. I am debating my geometric border detail, but I think it will look better once I darken the border elements. The sketch is a little further along that you see here. I will be sketching this using a mouse (something I have not done in about 10 years) since I no longer have a working scanner. We will see how it turns out. The bigger circle under the sketch was supposed to be a notched metal disc-looking thing that doubled as a north arrow, but I have not yet been able to find a look I like. Unless I can get it to work quickly, I will probably just add a floating north arrow. There are still about a dozen plans to be made in the city, and if there is time I would like to put in a little more variety. Finally, some odd things are happening to the colors of the topo when I turn this into a .jpg, so I need to sort that out as well. Hopefully adding some textures will help mask things if I can't figure it all out in time.

I am excited to finally start seeing this look done-ish.:!:

### Latest WIP ###

12-14-2013, 03:51 PM
Well, looks like I need to work on getting these done by the deadline, I guess I tend to get caught up exploring areas that I probably don't absolutely need to, but at this stage I think spending time learning these things will help me develop a faster process in the future.

### Latest WIP ###

The sketch is the only thing not close to done, the rest is at least somewhere in the ballpark of done-ish.